Progression of Exercise Training in Early Outpatient Cardiac Rehabilitation: AN OFFICIAL STATEMENT FROM THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF CARDIOVASCULAR AND PULMONARY REHABILITATION

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Abstract

Aerobic and resistance exercise training is a cornerstone of early outpatient cardiac rehabilitation (CR) and provides impressive benefits for patients. The components of the exercise prescription for patients with cardiovascular diseases are provided in guideline documents from several professional organizations and include frequency (how many sessions per week); intensity (how hard to exercise); time (duration of the exercise training session); type (modalities of exercise training); volume (the total amount or dose of exercise); and progression (the rate of increasing the dose of exercise). The least discussed, least appreciated, and most challenging component of the exercise prescription for CR health care professionals is the rate of progression of the dose of exercise. One reason for this observation is the heterogeneity of patients who participate in CR. All components of the exercise prescription should be developed specifically for each individual patient. This statement provides an overview of the principles of exercise prescription for patients in CR with special emphasis on the rate of progression. General recommendations for progression are given and patient case examples are provided to illustrate the principles of progression in exercise training.

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